“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Galatians 5:13-14 NKJV)
Paul was fighting a war in the early church that was an essential part of Christian theology. Were Christians to be involved in following the Jewish Law or were they going to be free from the burden of the law? The Galatian church was one of the battlefronts for this war and Paul was emphatic that Christians were called to liberty. He was equally emphatic that Christians should not live a libertine lifestyle. God didn’t give us this freedom so that we could indulge ourselves, but so that we would serve others in love. For those who were emphasizing the law, and for those who were emphasizing love, Paul called them to fulfill the law by loving their neighbors as much as they did themselves.
Our freedom is Christians isn’t designed for self-indulgence. When God blesses us financially, we should be seeking ways to bless others. When we have extra time, we should be finding ways to serve God by serving others. Need I go on? The freedom we have in Christ has boundaries. We are bound by the call to love our neighbor as ourselves. Our faith should make us care for those around us who are in need. We can’t all help in the same way, but we can all find some ways to help. Our faith should never allow hatred to have a part. There are people who have different beliefs and different lifestyles that we may believe to be wrong. Neither Paul nor Jesus called us to limit our love to those who agree with us, in fact, Jesus’s example of a neighbor was a person repugnant to Jews of that day. And he, the Samaritan, was doing the right thing. I’ve always told people that they are free to hate anyone that Jesus hates. At the same time, that means that we should love (and show that love) to everyone that Jesus loves.
Oh Lord, help me to love others as You love them. Let me use my liberty as an opportunity to share Your love with those around me.